We’re making it!
We are helping more and more turtles in our provincial parks with the support of our amazing donors.
Over the past few months, we have been raising donations for our Turtle Protection Projects across Ontario.
We are delighted to report that many of these projects are underway. Our park staff are working hard to protect and monitor nesting turtles and their hatchlings.
Why do turtles need our help?
Each spring, hundreds of female turtles travel far and wide in search of suitable nesting habitat to dig nests and lay eggs.
It just so happens that turtles see the sand and gravel found on road shoulders as the perfect area to nest. Unfortunately, roads not only provide corridors for vehicles and pedestrians, but also for turtle egg predators such as raccoons, skunks, and foxes.
Most turtle nests are destroyed by predators within 12 hours and less than 2% of turtle eggs hatch and survive to adulthood.
Six different projects helping turtles across the province are already underway. Here are some highlights:
Kawartha Highlands Exclusive Site
Kawartha Highlands wants to give turtles a head start by protecting turtle nests along some of the park’s busiest roads. Donations from the Turtle Protection Project allowed the park to purchase materials to build 50 turtle nest protection covers.
With the help of community scientists and park staff, we have been able to prevent seven turtle nests in this park from being destroyed so far this season. These turtle lovers will track the nests to make sure the eggs hatch safely.
Balsam Lake Provincial Park
Balsam Lake Provincial Park is creating what they call “The Ultimate Turtle Paradise.”
Some of the jobs include:
- restore critical habitat
- Provide sustainable nesting and basking sites in areas where they have been lost.
- survey the park’s road network for critical nesting locations
- creation of interpretive materials to interact with the public and communicate actions underway to improve the health of local turtle populations.
All of these initiatives were carried out before and during the 2021 nesting season, which will help support the next breeding cycle.
Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park
Samuel de Champlain staff is working to build an artificial nesting site so the turtles can have a safe home in an area where they are less likely to be disturbed.
You will notice the slight slope on one side of the site. This faces south and was made on purpose to receive as much sunlight as possible to help keep the turtle eggs warm!
Peninsula Provincial Park
If you’ve ever visited Presqu’ile Provincial Park, you may have seen the mounds we already have.
Without realizing it, it is common for turtles to accidentally dig up each other’s nests. To prevent this from happening, the park is expanding the mounds already used by the turtles.
Pinery Provincial Park
Ontario’s turtle species are attracted to roadsides and traverse land to lay their eggs during the breeding season.
At other times of the year, turtles may disperse to and from their winter hibernaculas (hibernation sites).
The Pinery project aims to raise awareness among park visitors that the park’s internal roads are not immune to this threat. By placing signs around high-traffic areas, park users can take responsibility for contributing to turtle conservation.
Grundy Lake Provincial Park
At Grundy Lake, an educational exhibit will highlight the turtle monitoring project and raise awareness about the turtle species and habitat found in the park.
This exhibit will be located at an important nesting site in the park: the Pakeshkag Lake Trail. This trail, which will open later in 2021, was converted into a road to protect the turtles that nest along it.
This project is nearing completion, just in time to help these new turtle eggs!
Buy some products from the Turtle Protection Project
Buy the Turtle Protection Collection online to support work on the ground!
You can also pick up your own Turtle Protection Project merchandise at park stores throughout the province.
When you’re exploring the parks, don’t forget to stop by to get your own T-shirt, socks, or Blanding’s Turtle plush.
All proceeds go directly to this program!
Our work is not done yet.
Although we are making progress, we have many projects that still need to be completed throughout our park system.
If you would like to make a donation to support our Turtle Protection Project, please call 705-313-2462 or email [email protected].